Barr Hill Reserve Tom Cat Gin
“When the world called for whiskey, we answered resolutely with gin.” This is the line that Caledonia Spirits used to describe their Barr Hill Reserve Tom Cat Gin. It wouldn’t be hyperbole to say that this is exactly what they did. This gin looks, smells and sips exactly like a whiskey… a really, really good whiskey.
Barr Hill Reserve Tom Cat Gin is an “expedition into uncharted territories” for the distillery. The base of the gin is the same as their Barr Hill Gin; they distilled the three simple ingredients – base spirit, raw honey and juniper berries – as they would for their gin. Then, the gin is aged in new American oak barrels to create a bolder expression. The mixture of the raw honey with the oak barrel makes for a very unique experience that’ll leave you exclaiming: “this is a gin?!”
In the glass, Reserve Tom Cat Gin is an unusual colour. It is dark amber, reminiscent of medium maple syrup. Strong, smooth aromas waft out of the glass bringing cinnamon and spruce trees. The first sip is so smooth, you’ll probably check the label to make sure you poured the right thing. Very subtle juniper and pine tease at the edges of the your tastebuds, reminding you that it is a gin. The sweet aftertaste lingers just long enough for you to take another sip. With tonic, the pine hits like a wrecking ball. Honestly, it felt a bit like chewing a tree, so best not to use this in a G&T. This is decidedly a sipping gin – maybe on the rocks in a whiskey glass. And it’s worth the higher price tag.